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E. coli Bacteria Infection, Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment.

E coli bacteria

E. coli is a common bacteria present in the intestines as well as in the intestines of animals. Although it is harmless in most cases, certain strains are capable of causing illness and infection. 

The most harmful type of E. coli - E. coli O157:H7 - leads to bloody diarrhea and can even cause kidney failure and death in extreme cases. E. coli O157:H7 makes a toxin known as Shiga toxin and is therefore known as Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli or STEC. Out of the many types of STEC, some are capable of causing sickness as severe as E. coli O157:H7. 

One of the more serious complications associated with E. coli infection is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This dangerous infection creates toxic compounds capable of destroying red blood cells and causing injury to the kidneys. HUS usually requires intensive care in the form of kidney dialysis and transfusions.

Sources 

Contaminated food: The most common sources of food poison include undercooked ground beef, raw milk and soft cheese, unpasteurized juice, and raw, unwashed fruits and vegetables (especially sprouts).

Contaminated water: Drinking contaminated water or swimming in contaminated water can result in infection. 

Animals and their surroundings: The most common animals that are capable of transmitting E Coli bacteria include cows, sheep, and goats. Failing to wash your hands after contact with an animal or its environment can result in an E. Coli infection. 

Feces of infected people Anyone infected with the virus will be shedding the virus through their fecal matter. 

Incubation Period 

E Coli bacteria typically has an incubation period ranging from 1 to 10 days.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include severe diarrhea and vomiting. Typically, only a slight fever, or none at all, will be experienced. Symptoms of HUS can include reduced urine production, dark urine, and a loss of color in the face. 

Duration of Illness

The average infection will last somewhere between 5 to 10 days. The majority of people will feel better in 6 to 8 days. HUS typically develops after 1 week in cases where it occurs. 

Treatment Options

It is crucial to consume adequate fluids and get plenty of rest. If you become dehydrated or if symptoms become severe - such as blood in your stools or intense abdominal pain - contact your doctor immediately as antibiotics may be required. 

Prevention Tips

1. Avoid eating any of the high-risk foods mentioned above as these can cause food poison.

2. Utilize a food thermometer to ensure proper, safe cooking temperatures (160 degrees) have been reached.

3. Wash your hands after any of the following: food preparation, changing diapers, contact with cows, sheep, goats, animal food, or their living space.
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